|Recently there was a brouhaha on the thread discussing Joe Rowlands’ article, "Objectivism: Not Just a Better Set of Rules." Most posters, myself emphatically included, were delighted with the article, meting out as it did a heavy body-blow to the view of ethical principles as a priori commandments to be unthinkingly obeyed. David Elmore, however, didn’t like it. He began his critique of it as follows:|
Thank you, Rowlands, for another facile wank-job with a poly-paragraph soporific denouement. Where does one start with such diarrhetic tripe?
My concern here is not with the points Mr. Elmore went on to make; it is with the words above. My initial response was to assume Mr. Elmore had had a little too much to drink, and to laugh the comments off. But the point has been made to me forcefully—and I have come to agree with it—that no one should be allowed to hurl such insults in such a direction and not be called for it. It’s not that insults per se are not permitted, however undesirable they may be as currency for discourse; what we will not permit is the hosts of this site being defecated on by ill-mannered guests.
Joe Rowlands pays for this site. He and Jeff Landauer own it. I co-own it as SOLO’s Founder and Principal, by dint of the fact that Joe & Jeff, at their suggestion and with my blessing, turned the web site they had planned to call ObjectivismHQ into SOLOHQ, incorporating SOLO’s Credo and overall vision. When he shells out the dollars, Joe is not paying for folk to insult him. Nor should he be expected to put up with insults from those whose free visits here he makes possible. We are very happy to have created a voluntary community of soulmates that typifies what the Objectivist culture should have been like from the beginning; however, folk in the community should not forget that they meet on private property, and it’s boorish bad form to accuse the owner of facile wanking, etc.. Disagreeing with him is one thing; crapping on him is quite another.
We are not seeking in any way to diminish the vigour of the debates that rage here, nor are we seeking to impose unrealistic expectations that no one will ever get riled up, that there’ll never be any bruising and battering from the rough-and-tumble of passionate engagement, etc.. Passionate engagement is part of what SOLO is all about. But that is not a licence for abuse of the hosts by rude guests, especially when the target is a cherished buddy and hero of mine. In this instance, we’ve placed Mr. Elmore under moderation pending an apology.